US firm Howrey has opened an office in Pune, western India, becoming the first major American firm with a client-handling office in the country.
Howrey's new base will not practise, as foreign law firms are still prohibited from practising law in India. Instead it will handle document management in litigation, IP and arbitration matters, taking advantage of India's large number of skilled but comparatively low paid professionals.
It is understood that hesitant clients will be given the choice of sending document work to the Indian base for lower costs or having it completed within the USA as normal.
Indian-American corporate partner Amit Saluja, hired last year from US rival Hogan & Hartson, will split his time between his current base in Washington DC and the Pune office to help hire and supervise new employees.
The firm plans to hire recent graduates from Indian universities and top Indian students out of American colleges and graduate programmes, who would train at the firm's Virginia facility before returning to India.